Jazz at JUMP

JUMP Nationals were in town last week (NYC) and I attended jazz, lyrical contemporary, ballet and hip hop classes. On Saturday I was able to talk to some students. Here’s what they had to say about evolving jazz and contemporary dance styles:

“Everyone’s trying to copy that quirky and weird technique,” said recent high school grad Natalie Iscovich, referring to the overwhelming trend of fluid movement accented by sharp, broken movements and torso undulations. Other students agreed that now everything looks the same. Iscovich continued, “jazz used to be lines, legs, technique; now it’s about choreography.” They all agreed they wanted to see trends in jazz cycle back to the classic style that emphasized clear shapes and lines.

They also loved the contemporary classes offered at the convention: the fullness of the style; how one uses every inch of the body to execute detailed and precise moves. “It involves technique, but you go outside the lines and interpret it a different way,” says Aly Galvin, a high school student from Portland Oregon.

Some students insisted they were going straight into the professional dance world after high school, but a lot of the older students wanted to continue their studies in higher education. Iscovich plans to attend Chapman College as a dance major this fall; another student from Houston wants to major in modern dance at college next year; and another student from Seattle is headed to Tisch School of the Arts, here in New York. I admired the level of professionalism as the students took corrections and intently listened to coaches and teachers. They worked extremely hard, and showed great determination to soak up as much as they could from every class. And even though it was a competition, the students were mutually supportive, congratulating each other and giving well-deserved compliments to their peers.

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